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on snow leopard

posted to writings on sep 3rd, 2009 with tags mac and nerd

pgp doesn't have a (non-beta) version of its whole disk encryption product that is compatible with snow leopard yet, so i was holding off on upgrading once my snow leopard dvd arrived. once i read that i would have to decrypt the entire drive (an ~8 hour process), uninstall pgp, upgrade, then re-install and re-encrypt the drive anyway, i figured i might as well do the first half now and wait for them to finally release the new version. please don't steal my laptop until i re-encrypt my hard drive.

installation of snow leopard was easy and fairly quick. i took screen shots of the drive in finder before and after to see how much disk space i saved, but since snow leopard now reports drive capacities in base 10, both values changed. before it was 6.95gb free on a 148.73gb drive. now it's 23.94gb free on a 159.7gb drive. i'm also not sure how pgp wde affected the disk space utilization, so i guess these numbers are meaningless.

i am running a 64-bit kernel now and everything seems to work ok for the most part except for things like the annoying restart of system preferences every time i click on a 32-bit preference pane (why does it prompt me every time? just restart it already!). after downloading a 64-bit version of mysql, its dmg wouldn't mount saying there were no usable filesystems. figuring the download was corrupt, i downloaded it again. same thing. i tried a 32-bit version, same thing. turns out the mysql people are making the dmg with the ufs filesystem (why?) which requires a legacy 32-bit kernel module, so the 64-bit version of mysql is not mountable on a 64-bit kernel. i had to reboot into the 32-bit kernel (holding down 3 and 2 keys while booting), mount the dmg, install it, then reboot back into the 64-bit kernel.

next up, the problems with spaces. the transitions between desktops seem much more sluggish, and now for some reason you have to let go of the command key to use command+tab. apparently i frequently press command+3, then command+tab to cycle between apps on that space, while not letting go of command in between. it doesn't work now, and requires letting go of command first. yes, i realize i could just command+tab to the app and it'll automatically switch me to that space, but this is already wired to my fingers and i don't want to learn something new.

the version of x11 bundled with snow leopard is apparently not the updated version of what i was running on leopard, because it still has the annoying spaces focus bug. most (but not all) of the time when switching spaces back to x11, it doesn't focus x11.app and leaves focus on whatever was focused in the old space. this requires command+tabbing to x11 before typing again. minor, but i switch spaces constantly and quickly (usually going between space 1 with x11 and lots of xterms and space 2 with firefox) and this is slowing down my work flow. the new xquartz doesn't run on snow leopard and according to the maintainer at apple, a new version is not due out until december.

finder was rewritten and apparently has some new bugs now. highlighting a file, but then dragging a different file will leave the old file highlighted while you are dragging the other file around. it's kind of confusing sometimes.

some 3rd party apps are subtly broken but i can't really fault apple for that. iscrobbler will still pop up growl notifications, but it can no longer get album art from itunes. quite a few ports in fink are broken (i can't compile gimp). 1password had to be upgraded for snow leopard but it's only a beta version. same with pgp wde. did these application developers not realize snow leopard was coming out? making your users run beta software for critical things like remembering all of your passwords and encrypting all of the data on your hard drive is really lame.

on the plus side, some annoying bugs in leopard have been fixed. i can't seem to reproduce the problem where plugging in an external monitor locks up the system. i (and others on the apple support forums) could reproduce it about 85% of the time. i eventually figured out that closing the lid and suspending the machine before plugging in the monitor would prevent it from locking up. now i don't have to do that.

also, they have fixed the problem in finder with dragging files onto remote shares. in leopard it would only pop open the window for the share, but as you'd leave it hovered over a folder inside of it, it wouldn't pop open again and continue letting you drill down into folders with the mouse button still down. you'd have to find the folder first, then open a new finder window and drag the file from one window to the other.

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